One of the local charities we support is Surrey Young Carers. In its recent newsletter, Geoff Parks, deputy manager gave an update on some of the work that the charity is doing and it’s doing such top work, we thought we’d share it. To find out more about what Surrey Young Carers does, visit www.surrey-youngcarers.org.uk or follow the charity on Twitter at @SYC_YoungCarers

You can read Geoff’s piece below!

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Dear Parent, Guardian, Young Carer

I’m proud to say that we have been supporting young carers since 1996; there have been a

lot of changes since then. One of our biggest challenges over the years was to raise awareness and change attitudes

towards disability and illness, and the impact it can have on young people who care for

family members. Along with the help of, you, the carer, Action for Carers Surrey and Surrey Young Carers

have helped to influence change, resulting in greater recognition of the need to improve

support for carers. Most recently, the new Care Act which comes into force in April 2015,

and recent amendments to the children and families bill, has strengthened the rights of

young carers to receive support, but of course this does not come with guarantees of more

money or resources.

I first started volunteering with SYC back in 2000 and the England Football team were even

rubbish back then, so some things haven’t changed! I remember we supported far fewer

young carers and were able to offer lots of contact such as regular groups. All this changed

back in 2007 as our numbers grew and we could not continue to offer the same kind of

activities because not everyone was getting access to time out. In response we had to adapt

and change the way we delivered our service, for example we stopped offering on-going

support groups and running six weekly group sessions, to ensure we could offer something

to everyone.Each year we listen to what our young carers want and each year we re-shape delivery to

meet with demand and changing need, this has helped us to continue to offer the service to

ever increasing numbers of young carers.

Since 2011 we have tripled the number of young carers we support. We currently support

over 1500 young carers in Surrey which is just over 10% of the potential 14,000 out there

in Surrey. I estimate that we will get our highest number of new referrals ever this year and

could easily see more than 700, compared to just over 150 new referrals in 2008.

Due to such a skilled and dedicated team, and more investment from the council we have

been able to continue to meet the demand so far. For some of you the service we now offer

may feel quite different. I hope you understand that we now have had to prioritise the support we can offer you.

The teams are currently piloting different ways of working across all areas in Surrey, each

area team manages activities in response to the needs of young carers in their area, so

please be aware that what is happening in Guildford may be different to what is happening

in Epsom!

The team endeavours to ensure that every one gets some kind of invitation but for some

of you, who are stable with your caring and feel part of your community keeping in touch

may be enough. Remember though, we do not have crystal balls so if your circumstances

change please let us know so we can try to adjust the support we can offer you.

We:

  • Have a good understanding of how caring responsibilities can peak and when it does

we are ready to ensure you are getting access to the right information and support.

  • Aim to ensure that you remain part of your community, for example we help you access direct payments, giving you further time out (*note, this is subject to eligibility).
  • Ensure that every donation we receive is put back into creating more opportunities for young carers to have access to activities, but we also have to ensure that new young carers do not wait too long for our support.

We are still ‘there because you care’ and look forward to growing and developing our

service even more in partnership with you the carer. There is still plenty more to be achieved

and we are certainly up for the challenge!

Geoff Parks, Deputy Manager SYC